Consumer spending slows again in sign of more stress on the economy

The numbers: Consumer spending rose by a scant 0.2% in February, a big slowdown from prior month that suggests households may have gotten more cautious as strains on the economy intensify.

Analysts polled by The Wall Street Journal had forecast a 0.3% increase. The surge in sales in January, meanwhile, was revised up to 2%.

Incomes rose 0.3% in February, the government said Friday.

Big picture: The surge in spending in January was widely viewed as a one-off that was unlikely to last. Americans are still coping with high inflation and rising interest rates, and they are saving a bit more amid talk of recession.

Households are still spending enough money to keep the economy out of recession, however. Most Americans who want a job can find one and increasing wages have taken some of the sting out of inflation.

Market reaction: The Dow Jones Industrial Average
and S&P 500
were set to open modestly higher in Friday trades.

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